Fr. Bob Tucker dies after lengthy health struggle
On Saturday, January 23, Fr. Bob Tucker, SCJ, died. He was 68. Originally from Detroit, MI, he was professed in 1975 and ordained in 1982.
In recent years, Fr. Bob had struggled with a respiratory disorder that led to a lung transplant last July. He was unable to fully recover from the transplant and moved into palliative care shortly before his death.
Fr. Bob’s most recent assignment was with the province formation team, helping to prepare men for religious life and ministry. He was instrumental in overseeing the move of the program from Chicago to Sacred Heart Monastery in Hales Corners. Shortly after learning of his death, students put together a video tribute to Fr. Bob. Click here or on the image below to view it.
Prior to his service in formation, much of his life was devoted to parish ministry. His first assignment was at St. Cecilia parish in San Antonio in 1982. From there he went to his hometown of Detroit, serving at his childhood parish of St. Rose of Lima. He also ministered in Milwaukee, and in Houston at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and St Matthew parishes. Before moving to Chicago, he served as a member of the pastoral team that serves much of northern Mississippi through Sacred Heart Southern Missions.
Since news of his death was made public, condolences and tributes have come in from around the world.
“I was a novice ( for the British/Irish Province) with the SCJs in Detroit in the mid 1980s,” wrote Kevin Hogan. “I met Fr Bob who was kind, generous and supportive, and was a great encouragement in seeking my vocation. Rest in peace.”
“I’m so sad to hear this,” wrote Jessica Bledsoe, a former parishioner. “Father Bob was the officiant at my wedding and he made such an impact on my husband and me.”
“I served with Bob at Sacred Heart parish in Franklin,” wrote former SCJ David Jackson. “Every Lent I remember that Bob organized the parish to present Drama of the Gospels for the Sundays. It is still the most powerful Lent I have ever had. Bob was short of stature, but bold in Fr. Dehon’s call to speak out.”
Click here to read more about Fr. Bob on the province website, including a reflection Fr. Bob wrote about his vocation.
Three enter postulancy!
During Adoration with the community at Sacred Heart Monastery on January 21, Jonathan Nguyen-Vuong, Jacob Smith and Michael Wodarczyk entered postulancy. They join Celsus Robert, who became a postulant last year, in preparation for the novitiate. Fr. Andrzej Sudol, SCJ, is the postulancy director. Fr. Ed Kilianski, SCJ, received the postulants.
“It’s a joy for me to welcome the three of you into postulancy,” said Fr. Ed to the candidates. “In the prayer of reparation we heard these words: ‘Leo Dehon taught us to see in the rejections of your love, the source of injustice and cruelty in our world.’
“No truer words are more real today than when this prayer was written and when Fr. Dehon walked in our world,” said Fr. Ed. He continued to quote from the prayer of reparation: “Touch and illumine our hearts, O God, so that we might love as Jesus taught us. May we identify with our brothers and sisters, value the differences among us, and collaborate with them in healing the wounds that divides us.”
“May each of you, Michael, Jacob and Jonathan, may you spend your time in postulancy learning how to help heal a broken world,” said Fr. Ed. “This is what we are called to do as Dehonians, to be not only prophets of love but especially, servants of reconciliation.”
Click here view a recording of the Livestream of the ceremony. Fr. Andrzej gives an introduction at 6:47 in the recording; the Admission to Postulancy begins at 24:30.
The week ends, but not the goals
Today, January 25, marks the end of the International Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which was first observed in 1908.
To commemorate the week, the general website published an interview with Bishop Teemu Sippo, SCJ, retired bishop of Helsinki. He was and continues to be a strong advocate for ecumenism.
“It is very important that Catholics persist in participating in Christ’s own prayer for the unity of all Christians,” said Bishop Teemu.
“It is also essential to have an attitude of friendship and love towards everyone, especially towards the Christian brothers and sisters of other Christian denominations,” he continued. “Despite the differences, we should meet each other in different contexts. No ecumenical event is in vain! We can also work for unity through writing and speech, but above all we need sincerity and love for the brothers and sisters of the other Christian denominations.”
Click here to read the full interview.
Those celebrating birthdays in February include Dn. David Nagel on Feb. 6, Br. Diego Diaz on Feb. 10, Fr. Duy Nguyen on Feb. 17, Fr. Quang Nguyen and Frater Henry Nguyen on Feb. 18, Fr. Greg Murray on Feb. 19, Fr. Mark Mastin on Feb. 21, Fr. Peter Sanders on Feb. 28. Happy birthday!! Note that birthdays and other dates of significance for Dehonians in North America are listed in the online calendar.
+ Fr. Richard Burchell, a former SCJ and a priest of the diocese of Cleveland, died January 19. His last assignment before retirement was as pastor of St. Rita parish in Cleveland, OH , where he served for 15 years.
+ Mandy McLaughlin, the daughter of Dn. Steve McLaughlin of the Lower Brule Pastoral Team, died on January 24.
+ Timothy Albert Pieszchala, an alumnus of Divine Heart Seminary died on January 19. Click here to read his obiturary.
+ Leopoldo, the father of the newly accepted candidate for the US Province, Ariel, has died. Funeral arrangements will be on February 2.
Keep in prayer
Roberto Diaz, the father of Br. Diego Diaz, SCJ, will soon schedule surgery and start chemotherapy treatment for bowel cancer.
Andy O’Neill, a graduate of Bellefontaine, is suffering with COVID-19 and is in critical condition due to previous lung issues which have compromised his resistance to the virus.
“My hope is that we will discover hearts burning within us as Christ speaks to our hearts and that we will come to know him in the breaking of the bread and to know him in the faces of our brothers and sisters. Because, as Number 82 in our Constitutions challenges us: ‘the Eucharist has its effects on all that we are and do… and who unceasingly throws us back onto the streets of the world in the service of the Gospel.’”
-Fr. Bob Tucker, SCJ